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萬物簡史(MP3+中英字幕) 第656期:永不安分的類人猿(7)

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For a long time, it was believed that the Cro-Magnons, as modern humans in Europe became known, drove the Neandertals before them as they advanced across the continent, eventually forcing them to its western margins, where essentially they had no choice but to fall in the sea or go extinct. In fact, it is now known that Cro-Magnons were in the far west of Europe at about the same time they were also coming in from the east. "Europe was a pretty empty place in those days," Tattersall says. "They may not have encountered each other all that often, even with all their comings and goings." One curiosity of the Cro-Magnons' arrival is that it came at a time known to paleoclimatology as the Boutellier interval, when Europe was plunging from a period of relative mildness into yet another long spell of punishing cold. Whatever it was that drew them to Europe, it wasn't the glorious weather.

在很長一段時期里,人們認為,被稱為歐洲現代人的克羅馬農人在向歐洲大陸推進的過程中,將他們之前的尼安德特人驅趕到西海岸,尼安德特人要么跳海,要么滅絕,除此之外別無選擇。事實上,我們現在知道,克羅烏農人從東部向歐洲內陸挺進時,遙遠的西部也有克羅馬農人?!澳鞘迸分奘且桓隹瘴奕搜痰牡胤?,”塔特薩爾說.“即使在他們來往穿梭的時候,他們也很難狹路相逢。一克羅馬農人到達歇溯的疑點之一是,當時歐洲正好處在古氣象學所謂的波特利爾間冰期,歐洲氣候突然從相對溫暖轉向另一個漫長的寒冷時期。無論是什么原因驅使克羅馬農人到歐洲,反正不是冰川氣候。

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In any case, the idea that Neandertals crumpled in the face of competition from newly arrived Cro-Magnons strains against the evidence at least a little. Neandertals were nothing if not tough. For tens of thousands of years they lived through conditions that no modern human outside a few polar scientists and explorers has experienced. During the worst of the ice ages, blizzards with hurricane-force winds were common. Temperatures routinely fell to 50 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Polar bears padded across the snowy vales of southern England. Neandertals naturally retreated from the worst of it, but even so they will have experienced weather that was at least as bad as a modern Siberian winter. They suffered, to be sure—a Neandertal who lived much past thirty was lucky indeed—but as a species they were magnificently resilient and practically indestructible. They survived for at least a hundred thousand years, and perhaps twice that, over an area stretching from Gibraltar to Uzbekistan, which is a pretty successful run for any species of being.

無論如何,認為尼安德特人在新來的競爭者克羅馬農人面前徹底垮了臺,至少有點兒有悖于考古發現所提供的證據。尼安德特人十分堅忍頑強,在長達幾萬年的時間里,他們生活在現代人當中只有極少數極地科學家和探險家才經歷過的環境中。在冰川期氣候最惡劣的時候,暴雪加上颶風級的大風成了家常便飯。溫度經常降到零下45攝氏度,英格蘭南部的冰谷中有北極熊走動。尼安德特人在氣候最為惡劣的一段時期里自然向后退卻。即便如此,他們依然不得不經歷至少和今天的西伯利亞冬天一樣可怕的氣候。毫無疑問,他們經歷了磨難——尼安德特人能夠活過30歲就已是十分幸運,但作為一種物種,他們具有很強的適應性和不屈不撓的性格。他們生存了至少10萬年,也許是20萬年,其范圍從直布羅陀一直到烏茲別克斯坦。對于任何物種來說,這都是十分成功的。

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evidence ['evidəns]

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n. 根據,證據
v. 證實,證明

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interval ['intəvəl]

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n. 間隔,休息時間,(數學)區間,(音樂)音程

 
eventually [i'ventjuəli]

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adv. 終于,最后

 
resilient [ri'ziliənt]

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adj. 適應力強的,有彈力的

 
curiosity [.kjuəri'ɔsiti]

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n. 好奇,好奇心

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fell [fel]

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動詞fall的過去式
n. 獸皮
v

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competition [kɔmpi'tiʃən]

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n. 比賽,競爭,競賽

 
species ['spi:ʃiz]

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n. (單復同)物種,種類

 
extinct [iks'tiŋkt]

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adj. 滅絕的,熄滅的,耗盡的

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experienced [iks'piəriənst]

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adj. 有經驗的

 
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